Verona Middle and High Schools Back on Remote After New COVID-19 Cases Reported

Verona High School and H.B. Whitehorne Middle School will transition to fully remote instruction for the next 14 days, due to new confirmed cases in the district, Dr. Rui Dionisio, Superintendent of Verona Public Schools, notified parents Monday.

On Monday, Verona Public Schools confirmed three new and unlinked individuals in the district who tested positive for COVID-19.

Dionisio writes:

There exists one (1) new confirmed individual at Verona High School and one (1) new confirmed individual at H.B. Whitehorne Middle School. A third confirmed individual impacts both Brookdale Avenue Elementary School and F.N. Brown Elementary School. These cases are in addition to the reported case at V.H.S. on November 18th and H.B.W on November 22nd.

The school district is working closely with public health officials and following CDC, state, and local health department guidance in order to ensure the health and safety of our community. The Montclair Health Department is in the process of notifying any individual who is identified as being a close contact with the positive individual to self quarantine and monitor symptoms as a precaution as per the health department guidance.

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) recommends that school districts should consider closing school to in-person learning for 14 days if 2 or more cases that are identified within 14 days occur across multiple classrooms, are not linked to exposures outside the school setting, and a clear connection between cases cannot be easily identified (outbreak involving multiple cohorts).

As a result of the current circumstances impacting Verona, in accordance with NJDOH guidelines, and in consultation with the Montclair Department of Health and our district physician, Verona High School and H.B. Whitehorne Middle School will transition to fully remote instruction for the next 14 days. Remote learning at V.H.S. and H.B.W. will begin tomorrow, November 24, 2020 and continue through Monday, December 7, 2020. Hybrid, in-person instruction will resume at V.H.S. and H.B.W. on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 barring no further transmission risk. Building principals will communicate school schedules with staff, students, and parents.

Additionally, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) released the latest COVID-19 Activity Level Report (Thursday, November 19), which includes data for the week ending November 14, 2020. The report explains that the COVID-19 activity level for the Northeast region, in which Verona is included, is HIGH overall, and the COVID-19 case rate is identified as VERY HIGH. The last times our region was at Activity Level High (3) was March 21 and May 2-16.

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